Green Lantern #57

Green Lantern #57

C+

I don’t think many comics fans would argue the fact that the Green Lantern family of comics are better now than they’ve ever been. This is due almost completely to author Geoff Johns, who over the past few years has created an entire mythology around the character that somehow seems incredibly new and exciting while simultaneously being so obvious that it should’ve been around from day one. That last bit isn’t meant as critique, but as a high compliment. Johns has found vast amounts of material by looking at the very foundation of the GL concept and asking “what else fits here?” It’s truly amazing to behold, and I suspect that time may prove Green Lantern, even moreso than the Flash, to be Johns’ superhero masterwork.

And yet, for all his excellent long-term planning, Johns isn’t always strong when it comes to the individual issue. I think Green Lantern #57 is a great example of that. It advances the plot of the series ably and has some fantastic artwork from Doug Mahnke, and… well, that’s about it.

Before I get on to the story, let me say again: Doug Mahnke is an art stud. I’d put him in the top 5 people drawing contemporary superhero comics, easily. He’s the whole reason I started buying Johns’ Green Lantern full time, and he has yet to disappoint. Though I’d previously associated Doug with a more horror-based type of storytelling, he proves month after month that he can do sci-fi with the best of them. There is a gorgeous two-page spread in this issue that shows us why, hopefully, DC pays him the big bucks.

But, as for the writing in Green Lantern #57: it’s okay. There are some things that really work for me and some things that don’t. In the former category, first and foremost, is Larfleeze. The Orange Lantern is probably my single favorite addition to the rainbow of lantern corps. It’s such an ingenious idea—a corps fueled by greed has only one lantern, because no Orange Lantern would be okay with any other one having that kind of power. This is Johns being very, very smart. This also leads to some fantastic comedy from Larfleeze, who simply must have everything. And the best part is that—at least to me—the comedy doesn’t feel forced at all. I take it as a perfectly natural extension of a character who cannot even look at something without craving it with his whole being. I suppose I can see where the comedy might fall short for some, but I literally laughed out loud at Larfleeze writing letters to Santa in last month’s issue, so I guess it’s just my cup of tea.

On the other hand, we have the Purple Lanterns (has anyone ever called them this? Let’s just stick with “Star Sapphires”). If the Orange Lanterns are my favorite, the Sapphires are by far at the bottom of my Lantern rankings. The thing that gets me the most is this: why are there only women in their corps? I feel like Johns (and/or DC editorial) really hasn’t thought this through, because I frankly find the idea insulting—is this comic meant to imply that only women can embody true love? That must really suck if you’re a man in a homosexual relationship (since neither partner can have that emotional connection, right?), or if you’re a member of a species with sexes that don’t cleanly break down into male/female, of which there must be thousands since this is a science fiction comic. The exclusion of men and questionably-gendered species from the Sapphires is a humongous oversight, and the kind that top-tier superhero comics really shouldn’t be making. Not every mainstream book needs to be on a mission to prove that superhero comics aren’t sexist (as many critics cry), but when you botch an opportunity to do so this seriously, one has to wonder.

In the end, this issue focuses mostly on the above-mentioned Sapphires and, as such, I did not really enjoy it. There’s a few interesting parts and the story does move forward significantly, but all of that is marred by spotlighting the dumbest corps and by employing some awful emotional platitudes as plot points, which is another weakness Johns sometimes displays. So, for me, Green Lantern #57 is worth a couple bullet points of plot advancement you can read about on Wikipedia, plus some amazing art from Doug Mahnke, and not really much else.

tags: dough mahnke, geoff johns, green lantern

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  • http://www.unshavencomicsonline.com Kyle Gnepper

    Great review Rikki. The Star Sapphires may be my bottom rung as well but I’m interested in whats going on. I’ve fought the urge to start buying Green Lantern for a while now. It may finally be time to cross over and start getting it.

  • Sean

    I disagree. It is not about what DC thinks, it is about what the ZAMARONS think. They are an all female, Amazonian society, it makes PERFECT SENSE that females would be chosen as their “warriors”. To write men into the corps simply to be “pc” would be “meta-plotting”. The irony is the second a guy showed up in a lavender outfit calling himself Star Sapphires, those complaining about there being no men would be first ones making fun of him.

    Besides “Star Sapphire” as a character has already been ingrained in our minds as female long before the whole “7 corps” thing.

    I like the Sapphires, many of their powers are unique. Blue is too preachy, orange to comical, and red too one note.

  • http://nerdynothings.com Rebel Rikki

    Sean,

    I see your point about the Zamarons. I suppose it fits right along with the other corps overseers, like the guardians (who can be real jerks sometimes, amirite?).

    I’ve also thought about the costume issue; I assume a male star sapphire would wear something a little different than a female would. Then again, maybe not. A chiseled dude in a speedo really isn’t much different than a busty woman in… whatever the sapphires wear, y’know?

    I don’t agree, however, that star sapphires should keep being women just because that’s what we know them to be. And I still can’t completely shake the feeling that having them be only women is a little… I guess the word would be hetero-normative. This goes back to what I said about GL being a science fiction comic… assuming every sector in space is meant to have a sapphire, I have a hard time believing that those sectors are populated solely with species that break down into totally heterosexual, male/female divisions. It’s too convenient and too narrow-minded for my tastes. You wouldn’t even find this if you took a sampling of all the species on Earth, for instance… I just can’t imagine the galaxy is any different.

    And for the record, my favorite corps are blue and orange. But to each his or her own. :)

  • Mike M

    Who knows there just may be a some male Star Sapphires out there and they just might have not been introduced yet.I mean we really don’t know too much about the pink or the purple lanterns.

  • http://nerdynothings.com Rebel Rikki

    Mike — also true. Good point! I’m really looking forward to finding out more about the purple lanterns, by the way — just what are they doing with Black Hand??

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